Contracts, online learning top Boyne City Public Schools board meeting

school board - teacher union members
Beth Gohs

Staff Writer
The Boyne City Public Schools Board of Education held its regular board meeting on Monday Oct. 13.
Items of interest included online learning, teacher contracts and more.

Fighting cancer
The meeting opened with a presentation from a student council representative, who announced his class raised $790.36 for the Northern Michigan Cancer Crusaders. The board asked the goals of student council and was told they are putting all efforts into making the school a better place.
Seat Time Waiver
Morgan-Shaw School Administrator Cody Wilcox presented updates on Seat Time Waiver since it was  introduced two years ago. Section 21 F of state law allows all students have the opportunity to take up to two online classes without charge.
“Located in Boyne City, the Morgan-Shaw School is a small, quiet program … where students can exercise learning options as they pursue their high school diplomas,” it states on the Boyne City Public Schools website.
“Course work is conducted through online coursework with the support of certified teachers.”
According to Wilcox, Seat Time Waiver means the student does not need to physically attend at the building and can take the class wherever they receive an internet connection.
He told the board students could take online classes because of health issues, scheduling issues if the student works, credit recovery and for other reasons.
This year, 111 students are participating online through the Morgan-Shaw School program, which uses five vendors who provide the classes.
Wilcox listed pros and cons of the program.
Pros:
• Expanded learning opportunity
• Health or social issues wouldn’t stand in the way of a student graduating
• Credit recovery
• AP classes
• Young parents still have an opportunity to graduate
• Good for students who can’t keep up with the normal pace or work through the material faster
Cons:
• There is not a lot of research on online classes and how it’s affecting the students
• The students don’t get one-on-one time with the teachers
• Children aren’t getting interaction with other kids
The board asked how to know whether a student is taking the test or paying someone else to. However, students are required to take certain tests at the school under adult supervision.

Still no contract
The public commentary section included teachers and parents of children attending Boyne schools asking the board to end the contract negotiations and come to an agreement.
14 parents and teachers spoke during the two public commentary sections of the board meeting, asking the board to resolve the teachers contracts, and praising all that teachers bring to the community.
Boyne City Public Schools Board of Education President Ken Schrader addressed the teachers at the end of the meeting, explaining that the board appreciates the work teachers do and that he hoped negotiations could continue in a civil manner.
“You guys do a fantastic job and I don’t think there is anyone on this board who doesn’t think so,” he said.
“And, yes, we are going to continue to have some negotiations. We’re going to go through this negotiation process. Yes, it’s gonna hurt. Yes, it’s going to be a little painful at this point—but it will get done.”

Financial audit
The board looked at the audit for the 2013-2014 year, and discovered that, in the past 10 years, the retirement fund has increased from 12.9 percent of payroll to 29.35 percent.
You can find all the details under the budget transparency button on the school’s website at http://www.boyne.k12.mi.us.

The board went into a closed session at 8:35 p.m.